Is China using ASEAN for its gambling fix?

While at first glance the news that China has asked the Philippines to ban online gambling may seem like just another sign of its growing involvement in the region, a quick scan of regional newspapers soon makes it obvious that the Asian superpower needs all the help it can get to battle its own gambling problem.

Gambling is illegal in China, except in Macau, and gambling businesses are increasingly targeting the mainland China market by opening up shop in Southeast Asia. Eager Chinese punters are now flocking to online gambling sites across ASEAN, and Beijing is worried about capital outflow and money laundering.

On Tuesday, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang called online gambling “the most dangerous tumour in modern society.”

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